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Streaming Is Thriving Amid The Pandemic. Can Newcomers Succeed, Too?

"For Peacock, they're coming out at a really good time. It's a time when consumers are looking for something new to watch."
Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 16, 2020

The average TV watcher is streaming eight hours a day — that's double what people were watching before the pandemic, according to a study by market research firm OnePoll. 

Some viewers now also have a new streaming platform for their binge-watching needs. NBC's Peacock streaming service launched its early preview to some Xfinity customers this week.

"For Peacock, they're coming out at a really good time. It's a time when consumers are looking for something new to watch." 

Market research analyst Brett Sappington says Peacock's library of exclusive content can help it stay competitive as viewers continue to spend more time at home in front of a screen.

“They may be burning through all of the content they know on services like Netflix or Disney Plus. And so for Peacock to come out now with a new service that consumers can easily get into and watch, it gives consumers a real reason to go try it out."

Because of halted productions all over the world, Peacock's full lineup likely won't debut until 2021. Peacock was also set to stream the Tokyo Olympics, but that will also have to wait. 

Its library of classic series may help tide viewers over until new original series debut. 

"NBC has held on to parts of its content or reclaimed, really, important pieces of its content like 'The Office' and other really high-profile assets. And so it now has that to put into the Peacock service. And the great thing about those series is that they're familiar to consumers. They have characters that consumers care about. And they have many, many episodes." 

Peacock's limited launch follows another streaming newcomer.

On Monday, Quibi said it had more than 1.7 million downloads in its first week, despite muted attention on social media and lackluster reviews

That could forebode a slower initial launch for Peacock as well, but NBCUniversal is optimistic about the service growing over time. Comcast announced it will invest $2 billion in the service over the next two years.